The Schnalle Method: Odd Foot Ostinatos

This little bit of rhythmic mayhem involves playing odd-numbered groupings on the bass drum in 4/4. Ex. 1 illustrates playing every third sixteenth-note, which takes three measures to cycle completely. Ex. 2 presents a grouping of five sixteenth-notes (two plus three) that cycles in five measures. And, of course, the grouping of seven sixteenth-notes (two plus two plus three) in Ex. 3 cycles completely in seven measures. Your first exploration of these exercises should be with the ostinatos (repeated patterns) in Ex. 4. Simply play the ostinato, and add the different bass-drum patterns from Exs. 1—3. Repeat as many times as it takes to really feel comfortable playing each pattern. Look out for advanced permutations in future lessons.

DRUM! Music Editor Wally Schnalle is a drummer, composer, and teacher based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has performed with Eddie Gale, Ernie Watts, and the San Jose Symphony Orchestra.